This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
Other authorities have held that even under a wilful and unjustifiable abandonment of a contract, recovery should be had for the reasonable value of benefits accepted and retained by the party against whom relief is sought, less the damages occasioned to him by such breach.1 This is spoken of as " the more modern rule."2 Thus taking possession of a building which was not constructed in substantial compliance with the terms of the contract, has been held to make the owner liable for a reasonable compensation therefor.3 In such cases, however, the builder's right of recovery is limited by the contract price. He cannot, by abandonment, transfer to himself such profits as the owner may have obtained by reason of an advantageous bargain.4 Thus A agreed to furnish twenty-three thousand feet of marble tiling. He furnished less than twenty thousand feet. It was held that he could recover for the amount furnished.5 Under a contract of employment recovery can be had for a reasonable compensation for work thereunder though the employe has abandoned the contract before the term of employment has expired.6 So recovery can be had for the reasonable value of cattle delivered under a contract, though the full amount agreed upon was not delivered.7 In studying the principles here discussed, as enforced by the courts, one is sometimes driven to inquire whether a special contract means anything.
12 Wash. 358; 50 Am. St. Rep. 894; 41 Pac. 59.
19 Neis v. O'Brien, 12 Wash. 358; 50 Am. St. Rep. 894; 41 Pac. 59.
20 Neis v. O'Brien, 12 Wash. 358; 50 Am. St. Rep. 894; 41 Pac. 59.
21 Hansbrough v. Peck, 5 Wall. (U. S.) 497; Baston v. Clifford, 68 111. 67; 18 Am. Rep. 547; Downey v. Riggs, 102 la. 88; 70 N. W. 1091; Roach v. Waid, 2 T. B. Mon. (Ky.) 142; Davis v. Hall, 52 Md. 673; Mc-Manus v. Blackmarr, 47 Minn. 331; 50 N. W. 230; Lawrence v. Miller, 86 N. Y. 131.
22 Downey v. Riggs, 102 la. 88; 70 N. W. 1091.
23 Hansbrough v. Peck, 5 Wall.
(U. S.) 497; Roach v. Waid, 2 T. B. Mon. (Ky.) 142.
1 McDonough v. Marble Co., 112 Fed. 634; 50 C. C. A. 403; Wolf v. Gerr, 43 la. 339; McClay v. Hedge, 18 la. 66; Pixler v. Nichols, 8 la. 106; 74 Am. Dec. 298; Barnwell v. Kempton, 22 Kan. 314; Duncan v. Baker, 21 Kan. 99; Hayward v. Leonard, 7 Pick. (Mass.) 181; 19 Am. Dec. 268; Parcell v. McComber, 11 Neb. 209; 38. Am. Rep. 366; 35 Am. Rep. 476 N.; 7 N. W. 529; Bedow v. Tonkin, 5 S. D. 432; 59 N. W. 222; Hillyard v. Crabtree, 11 Tex. 264; 62 Am. Dec. 475.
2 McDonough v. Marble Co., 112 Fed. 634; 50 CCA. 403.